November 2009


HH: Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg on Friday

This past weekend I made my way to Hamburg—the first German city I’d ever visited.

First off, I did not puke this time. I didn’t even get drunk.

Consequently, I enjoyed the city much more, and, quite frankly, I was in a far better position as a (dare I use the word) middle aged guy who has come to appreciate Germany to appreciate Hamburg than I was as a clueless idiot in my mid- to late 20s who had already been to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Cheltenham, London, and The Hague over the course of two weeks before continuing on to Hamburg.

As the trip was incredibly last minute, I hadn’t really thought out much of the trip—not even really what to do, which meant that I had to rely upon my fabulous host (Mr. Letters Home) to guide me. We’d made arrangements to dine with some other fabulous bloggers from the region, including PapaScott and the amazing Transkitten.

Finally the day before I left PapaScott invited me to visit and tour his family business—which I was thrilled to do—so on my way north I got off the train, met him, and toured through one of the family’s 2.5 McDonalds, the first one and I must confess the very best McDonald’s I have ever been to in Germany, if not the world. Seriously, it’s nice—even as it was busy. It’s a nice McDonald’s with a decent sized McCafé, a drive-through, a large dining area, a large outdoor patio, and is very well maintained. All the things that my most readily accessible full service location (Jena’s City Center) for me is not.

Note for non-European readers: McCafé in Europe is a full-service coffee shop inside the McDonalds, with its own sub-branding, its own counters, and separate employees who focus on serving coffee shop type drinks and cakes. These function more like an independent internal Starbucks; unlike the US-style McCafé approach where it’s just the coffee-brand and its served at the same counter.

After the tour, and meeting his family, I hopped aboard an alcohol-free train to the city, where I had an appointment to meet Mr. Letters Home later in the evening. The late meeting meant that I could wander Hamburg for awhile—which I did, seeing the Rathaus, multiple church-like buildings, and then heading for the Reeperbahn/St. Pauli area.

As it happens, this is the one thing I specifically remember doing in Hamburg: going with my then host to Herbertstraße, which is where all the prostitutes behind red-light lit windows hang out. Such windows are not new to me, I’ve seen them in Amsterdam—the novelty for Hamburg is that the windows are confined to one walled off street and only men are allowed to go down this street. I didn’t go down the street this evening (I did Saturday night) because I discovered that I had a sever problem on my hands.

Actually no, more my crotch.

I was wandering through the district alone—a man, if you will, on a specific mission: find a café or bar where I could hang out until Mr. Letters Home and I could meet—we didn’t mind if it was a bit on the seedy side, just as long as it was quiet.

Unfortunately the girls on the street, wearing only the finest in fine clothing, along with moon boots, saw me and presumed that as a single male I was looking for some charming female company and they aggressively pursued me—and by aggressive I mean that one even turned around and rubbed her ass in my crotch in a rather suggestive way that might have made your average 18 year old hetero-male cream his pants in about half a second. For me it had the opposite effect: my penis tried to crawl inside to get away from such a disgusting and vile sight, separated by underwear, denim, and whatever the girl-of-loose-morals was(n’t) wearing.

I decided to cross the street and go away from the area, eventually, and accidentally, finding Susi’s Laubfrosch, a gay bar where my mere presence lowered the average age by a substantial number. It was also quiet and the walls were covered with framed photos of porn stars in various stages of visible excitement—or if not, the stars were showers.

This was where Mr. Letters Home found me at approximately midnight—we consumed beers, transferred to another bar closer to his home, where we consumed more beer and watched two enormous pitchers of beer get delivered to an adjoining table that had only two customers—there had to be at least 2 liters of beer per man.

Obviously we were not worthy because we struck out, heading for his lovely flat, where at about 2:30 I passed out, dead to the world until much later.

5 comments to HH: Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg on Friday

  • Well, you were in *her* neighborhood. This one I can say is much like people in the US who say the government should censor things… don’t want to see it, don’t watch it. 😉

    Still, I think my crotch would have had much the same reaction.

  • Really? Mc Cafe in the Philippines operates much like it does in Germany.

  • This middle-aged guy is looking forward to the Saturday and Sunday write-ups. Meanwhile, I’m going to go get a check-up, then gum down some pretzels. 🙂

  • It was really lovely to meet up with you all! I’m also looking forward to the next installment! 🙂

  • Cynical Queer – It really annoyed me. The thing is that when I said I wasn’t interested, they should have stopped bugging me–when I told prostitutes in other cities, they were respectful and let go. I even told some that I wasn’t interested because I was gay, and one said back, “We’re gay too, we like boys…” Nice.

    Cathy – The American McCafes are really different. PapaScott can fill you in.

    Ian – ooops… I should have said “30some” — I was trying to distinguish me from me, but obviously I chose the wrong words. You’re still young.

    Emily – It was great meeting you, and thanks for the MacTips — they are working fantastically well.